Heizer POCKET AK and POCKET AR Gel Test

Flame from 7.62 x 39 coming from working of barrel and muzzle of barrel

Flame from 7.62 x 39 coming from working of barrel and muzzle of barrel.

Editor’s note: The good folks at GunsAmerica fight to review everything cool, new and hot. Unfortunately, the opportunity to do so sometimes means they have to share some pain in the name of teamwork. The article you are about to suffer through is such an instance. The punisher: Heizer’s single shot pistol, available in .223 and 7.62 x 39. If you have not read the full review, I would encourage you to click over. This supplement will focus solely on the results of our ballistic gel testing. There was some concern that the attenuated barrel, coupled with the ample porting, resulted in the very low velocities recorded in that review, and that these velocities would have a very real effect on bullet performance. Is this true? Enter Jon Hodoway with the ballistic gel!

Read the full review: https://www.gunsamerica.com/blog/heizer-defense-pocket-ak-pocket-ar/

Read about the PAR1: http://heizerdefense.com/category/products/guns/par1-guns/

Read about the PAK1: Read about the PAK1: http://heizerdefense.com/category/products/guns/pak1-2/

Buy one on GunsAmerica: https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?T=heizer

Winchester 223 round impacting ballistic gel

Winchester 223 round impacting ballistic gel.

Gel Testing Plan

Brief aside: I’d like to clear up some misconceptions and describe what ballistics gel does, and does not do. Anyone who has studied the aftermath of gunshot wounds can tell you that ballistics in the human body can result in almost any outcome imaginable. Simply put–any round, whether through skill or luck, can result in the instantaneous death of a human or animal. On the flip side of that–the most powerful round can completely and utterly fail to incapacitate or kill a human or animal. When it comes to a human target, all bets are off. Have an example: a .22 rimfire round fired from a small handgun striking an adult male just under the armpit, missing the ribs, can penetrate both the lungs and the heart. It isn’t far-fetched.

Consider the murder of Corporal Mark Coates of the South Carolina Highway Patrol. During a traffic stop, the subject began to struggle with Corporal Coates and they both fell to the ground. The subject fired a .22 caliber handgun into Corporal Coates’ chest, but the round was stopped by his vest. Corporal Coates was able to force the man off of him and return fire, striking him five times in the chest with his .357 caliber revolver. As Corporal Coates retreated for cover (and to radio for backup) the man fired a second shot; the round struck Coates in the left armpit and made its way quickly into his heart. The subject, who had been skillfully struck five times by larger and more powerful rounds, survived the incident. He was sentenced to life in prison.

So why even mess with ballistic gel? Because it serves as a great way to see what different rounds do in the same basic, and control, scenario. If you took the average density of muscles, internal organs, circulatory system, nervous system and fluids, you would end up with a medium very close to the density of ballistic gel. Our test medium was Clear Ballistics gel that is approved for bullet testing by all relevant government agencies. As I indicated above, your results will probably vary and predicting the exact results of a round’s performance in a gunfight is truly a fool’s errand.

once the 223 is chambered less than an inch of barrel is available before porting.

Once the 223 is chambered less than an inch of barrel is available before porting.

The 76 2 x 39 has a small amount of barrel before the porting begins.

The 76 2 x 39 has a small amount of barrel before the porting begins.

Considering that our Heizer was launching a .223 round at just under 1100 ft./s and a 7.62 x 39 round at 900 ft./s, I felt it appropriate to select ammunition that would perform the most effectively for this platform. When the time came to select the ammunition, I looked for the lightest, fastest rounds that were also designed for optimal expansion.

.223

I found two .223 loads that looked promising. The first was the Lehigh Defense 45 grain Controlled Chaos, advertising a velocity of 3,300 fps. The second load I settled on was the Winchester Varmint X 40 grain, which indicated a muzzle velocity of 3,100 fps. Both of these rounds touted the fact that they would expand and fragment upon impact. I wondered if they’d ever met a Heizer before.

Lehigh defense round entering ballistic gel rapid change of direction and exit out of the topLehigh defense round entering ballistic gel rapid change of direction and exit out of the top

Lehigh defense round entering ballistic gel rapid change of direction and exit out of the top.

The Lehigh Defense has consistently been a showstopper in ballistic gel. If it advertises penetration, fragmentation or expansion, the results are usually quite spectacular. Unfortunately, the spectacle was largely foiled, as the Heizer’s demure ported barrel gave consistently erratic performance. The bullet would enter on a desirable trajectory, only to quickly change direction and exit the gelatin. I repeated the test several times to ensure that this was not the result of user error. The camera and evidence left in the gel indicated that there was little to no expansion, and not much of an energy dump prior to exit.

The Winchester. No expansion.

The Winchester. No expansion.

The Winchester offered a consistent and more predictable path. Although the ballistic tip did separate from the bullet, there was zero expansion. Reviewing the photography indicated that there was a moderate temporary wound channel.

To put this frankly- the terminal ballistics offered by the Heizer was not what I’d hoped for. These two rounds fired from the Heizer made even a .380 automatic look like a beast. I do not fault the rounds in any way; I believe that this platform, with its short barrel and porting, consistently fails to provide sufficient velocity for these rounds to perform the way they would form a rifle.

This is hardly Heizer’s fault. They have never made promises about terminal ballistics. And they’ve made far fewer promises than some of those who are still pushing bird-shot through .410 revolvers as the end-all-be-all for self defense. We, the end users, simply make assumptions about performance that are often erroneous.

But shooting guns is always fun, right? So what was impressive? Well–the muzzle flash, report and recoil could only be outdone by the Smith and Wesson .500 Magnum.

So what about the 7.62×39?

Really good 7.62 x 39 is much harder to find than boutique .223. The Hornady steel case rounds are among the best. This round was able to bring the muzzle flash, report and recoil levels all the way up to Damn Near Unbearable! I’m pretty sure that wielding this gun hurt me just about as badly as it hurt the gel. The performance in the ballistic gel was, again, lackluster at best. I could have re-used the bullet if the ballistic tip hadn’t broken off. There was no fragmentation and no expansion. The camera does record that this round outperformed the others in both penetration and energy dumped to the target, but that’s not an exceptionally high bar to clear.

Permanent one cavity on top is 223 one cavity on bottom is 7.62 x 39.

Permanent wound cavity on top is 223 one cavity on bottom is 7.62 x 39.

7.62 x 39 bullet retrieved from gel zero expansion ballistic tip broken

7.62 x 39 bullet retrieved from gel zero expansion ballistic tip broken

And just to round things out, the Heizer exhibited a very nasty habit of locking itself closed after each round of 7.62 x 39. This feature was remedied through the use of a hammer and brass rod, after which the gun performed as designed.

Conclusions

First and foremost, let me say that I would not want to be shot with either caliber offered by this firearm. We can mock ballistic gel results and velocity measurements all we want, but being shot is being shot–all bets are off. If I were going to use this for a self-defense handgun, I would definitely choose the 7.62 x 39, as it has the largest potential to achieve the desired effect.

That being said, this is one of those situations where I would urge you to choose a different caliber. I believe that you would be much better served by the option offered by Heizer in .45. if this is the platform for you.

When I add in the second factor–hand shock–I grow even more concerned. Practice is an important part of proficiency. While the gun shoots straight, shooting it isn’t easy. his Heizer is quite the conversation piece, and everyone is free to make the choice to carry the gun they want. If someone has a compelling reason for this caliber choice, drop me a line and I’ll gladly reconsider my stance here.

Porting on short barrel significantly reduces velocity and increases flames

Porting on short barrel significantly reduces velocity and increases flames.

Flame coming from barrel firing 223 Lehigh defense.

Flame coming from barrel firing 223 Lehigh defense.

Winchester 223 temporary one cavity flame beginning to form at rear of temporary cavity.

Winchester 223 temporary wound cavity flame beginning to form at rear of temporary cavity.

Flame from Winchester 223 caused by burning gases and pressure change from block collapsing on temporary one cavity

Flame from Winchester 223 caused by burning gases and pressure change from block collapsing on temporary cavity.

Gloves were used for the 76 2 x 39 rounds to dampen the Recoil.

Gloves were used for the 76 2 x 39 rounds to dampen the Recoil.

The 223 caught just prior to Round leaving the barrel recoil is significant. Look what the blast did to the ash on my cigar.

The 223 caught just prior to Round leaving the barrel recoil is significant. Look what the blast did to the ash on my cigar.

{ 36 comments… add one }
  • mka February 7, 2017, 5:42 pm

    Should come with the instruction,to place gun tightly against the offender before pulling trigger. That will cause the mortal internal injuries from flames to render perp immobile.

  • MagnumOpUS December 5, 2016, 3:56 pm

    I am training hard with these babies while waiting for my custom .50 BMG Derringer to arrive.

  • Scott December 5, 2016, 2:05 pm

    Can’t wait for the 7.62X54R version :):).I have a T/C pistol in 45/70 16″ barrel with a bipod it’s cool to shoot.With the rifle stock it’s much better.

  • roger December 5, 2016, 1:51 pm

    I have a Heizer Pocket AR and the AK barrel in my derringer gun collection. Near gun. Thanks for doing this test. Looking forward to the Heizer PKO semi-auto 45.

  • TexasGunGal December 5, 2016, 11:33 am

    We may be missing the point altogether here.
    This isn’t designed to be a Stand Alone Gun Choice….is it?
    My thought is that a back-up pistol using the same ammo as my rifle….has the advantage of giving me the ability to shoot – if the long gun is incapacitated…..or situations require a pocket sized package.

    The ONLY reason to have a Heiser in .223 or 7.62 X 39 is so that the ammo is rifle compatible.

    Along the same line, we might have said that the 32-20 was a round that performed totally differently in a Lever Gun from Marlin or Winchester – than it did in a Colt S.A.A. revolver. But compatibility with 44/40….. 38/40….32/20 for rifle & handgun matched ammo, was respected.

    Doesn’t Mr. Heiser’s unique product line deserve to be given a fresh look in this light?

  • ronald j gaudier December 5, 2016, 8:10 am

    They should make one in .500 S&W.

  • Jimmy B December 5, 2016, 4:20 am

    It’s definitely nothing more than gimmicky crap that’s at least worth a conversation and nothing more. If I need a tiny pocket pistol I’ll just snatch the wife’s LC9s. Merry Christmas !

  • viktor knapp April 28, 2016, 8:08 am

    Nothing proof it more, that we are a nation of idiots, not even obama in the white house, than the people who made this POS and anybody who will carry it for self defense.

  • Will357SC April 26, 2016, 8:09 pm

    Heizer is way off the mark with these guns. If they produced a .22 Mag or .22lr 2 shot derringer I’d be in the market, but what’s coming off the line right now is useless junk.

  • Scott Griffin April 25, 2016, 8:57 pm

    This review is retarded.

    • FirstStateMark December 5, 2016, 12:44 pm

      I agree! Who would want this POS.

  • pthree April 25, 2016, 6:39 pm

    I purchased one of the first 45acp models. I took it to the range. We fired 6 rounds, myself and 2 other gentlemen 2 rounds each. Between us we have over 100 years of pistol shooting experience. Our conclusion was and is that the Heizer is the gun you keep in your pocket when the shtf until everything else has either failed or been extinguished then you use it to kill yourself. A unanimous agreement.

    • Scott Griffin April 25, 2016, 8:59 pm

      Not a glowing recommendation here.

  • jimonthebeach April 25, 2016, 3:45 pm

    I have a one word comment for this pistol: “WHY?” Two rounds, punishing recoil, deafening blast, limited terminal ballistics for $400? Seriously? It’s not all that much smaller than my .45 caliber XDs, It packs more rounds and more punch and it is just as easy to carry concealed and much easier to shoot.

  • PeterC April 25, 2016, 3:42 pm

    The ultimate “Here, hold my beer and watch this” guns.

  • Robert April 25, 2016, 2:28 pm

    What you have here, in my opinion, is just a waste of metal. The only conceivable use, as far as I can see, is to impress your friends by showing off the most brutal, face scorching muzzle blast you can endure.

    • Scott Griffin April 25, 2016, 9:00 pm

      agreed. Melt that sucker down and build a 10/22 or a 1911.

  • Chuck April 25, 2016, 11:45 am

    Last ditch guns are NOT intended to be comfortable to shoot or tack drivers. They are clearly for the guy who has 5.56mm AR rifles and thinks that it makes some sense to have a hand-cannon in their BUG OUT BAG…that shares the same ammo.

    I expect that the underlying mentality of some buyers – is kind of like the wise old cowboys who shot 32/20 (.32 WCF) Rifles and matching revolvers for commonality of AMMO. Same with 38/40 and 44/40…right?

    Interchangeable barrels make the gun capable of offering multiple choices by carrying an extra barrel along for giggle and grins. My BOND Derringer selection of barrels, gives me FLEXIBILITY like this too. Do I go to the range for the JOY of running a full box of hot 10mm ammo through either of my BOND models (one old one new vintage)….NO….but my everyday shooting with it in .22LR makes me comfortable with it when and IF…the day comes that the 10mm is called into duty as the back-up for my 10mm Pistol.

  • Charlie April 25, 2016, 10:43 am

    Don’t see the use for it, but whatever. I would like to see test results and your opinion on an American Derringer in 44 mag. I have one and with 240 and 300gr rounds it is the most violent thing I have ever fired (inclusive of some big bore African Dangerous Game Rifles) and even thick gloves help very little.

    • Chuck April 25, 2016, 11:34 am

      O.K. Charlie…….then maybe you will want to come try out my 45/70 American Derringer Alaskan Survival model?

      When I ordered it from Waco, it appeared that they did NOT test fire it and I figured they knew more about the KICK this bruiser would impart – than I did.

      So to tell the truth ~ it still remains a SAFE QUEEN, in a cool wooden factory presentation case with a set of the Scrimshaw Grips they put on the LADY Derringer models.

      • Billybob December 6, 2016, 2:58 pm

        45/70 TRUMP CARD when all else fails ! I shoot mine using 410 . Hammer spring stinks !

  • DG April 25, 2016, 9:24 am

    Try the 36gr Barnes Varmint Grenade copper/tin bullet… They do a great job out of a rifle. Just curious if they would have enough oomph out of this little gun…

    That little gun sure does have a big bark..

  • James April 25, 2016, 8:49 am

    I want the pocket àk send me a picture and price

  • Temur April 25, 2016, 8:11 am

    The 7.62×39 gel looks like the bullet kept plowing forward in the direction of travel but yawed early like it’s supposed to. Straight forward travel with lots of yaw is what I consider to be good 7.62×39 terminal performance, that’s what Golden Tiger and Yugoslavian ammo do.

    123 grains of lead traveling 900 fps is going to be terminally effective provided the bullet stays together. But a 38 special accomplishes the exact same thing without all the horrific muzzle blast, flash, and recoil. I don’t see a niche for the Heizer.

    • Chris April 25, 2016, 10:11 am

      The yaw is only important when dealing with FMJ ammo where it would be a crime to use anything but. We’re not at war and have no such rules, so I want good expansion out of my HP.

  • Cyrus April 25, 2016, 8:08 am

    Complete and utter silliness . . . No wonder the Anti-Gunners think we are crazy!

    • Harry April 25, 2016, 4:29 pm

      Agreed! There’s about an inch of compression there. Notice all the fire out the end. How in the world are you gonna get any ballistics from that?

  • roger April 25, 2016, 8:05 am

    I have a 223 non ported and bought a 7.62X39 barrel ported….fun gun. I am waiting for a .308 barrel for it. They are coming out with a 45Acp semi auto that is looking pretty good. I got them because I could. Love the USA

  • roger April 25, 2016, 8:05 am

    I have a 223 non ported and bought a 7.62X39 barrel ported….fun gun. I am waiting for a .308 barrel for it. They are coming out with a 45Acp semi auto that is looking pretty good. I got them because I could. Love the USA

  • Joe April 25, 2016, 6:01 am

    So if I shoot someone with the .223 model do I at least have to holler ?
    “Fire in the Hole”

  • Will Drider April 24, 2016, 2:36 am

    This novelty design deminishes the .556 cartridge by 2/3rds velocity and 6/7ths of its energy. Its a single shot with slow reload time. It is exceedingly punshing to fire without a corresponding terminal ballistic result. $400- Lol. Its demise is certain. Maybe in 100 years it will be as collectable as te GyroJet pistol.

    • scotlind April 26, 2016, 10:33 am

      Modern day liberator designed to get the next gun

  • Al April 23, 2016, 2:23 pm

    I can’t understand the logic of such a design but to each his own. For that matter why not make it a 12ga slug?

    • Mark Woflson April 26, 2016, 4:35 am

      And then shoot someone in the ass with it (burglar going out a bedroom window)!

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